February 17, 2023

Inside the Factory: Winter 2023 Update

Inside the Factory: Winter 2023 Update

Some of you may remember we wrote this Winter 2022 blog early January last year, and you might be wondering why you haven't gotten a similar update from us this year yet. Since the busy holiday season ended, we've turned our attention to some internal projects (overhauling our ERP system, implementing new operational processes, dealing with broken machines that need upgrades, making new hires for our production team, etc. etc.), so that’s why we might seem a little more quiet than usual. But without further ado, if you're interested in some company updates, in this blog you will find:

We have new 210d Cerylon Colors! 

Three new cerylon colors: Marigold, moss, and dusk

Recently, we ran a pre-order for the retired Parental Unit Diaper Bag (if you missed the announcement, make sure you're signed up for our newsletter in the future), and in that pre-order, we debuted our three new 210d Cerylon colors: Marigold, Moss, and Dusk! Now we have a total of six 210d Cerylon colors — the others are Sangria, Cobalt, and Mountain Grey.

If you are familiar with our vast color library, you may have noticed immediately that Marigold looks like Solaris 200d Halcyon, Moss looks like Wasabi 200d Halcyon (more on that below), and Dusk looks like (retired) Dawn 210d Ballistic. You are correct! Our goal is to offer more tried-and-true colors in 210d Cerylon for those that prefer the aesthetic and hand of this fabric over 200d Halcyon.

And if you're new to 210d Cerylon, we recommend checking out our materials glossary for a more thorough explanation. Our 210d Cerylon fabric is completely custom woven + dipped for us by a family-owned mill in South Korea. Initial feedback for Marigold, Moss, and Dusk has been overwhelmingly positive. Our production team noted immediately that these three colors are very soothing to the eye and pair very well with most of our external fabrics.

Also, in case you haven't noticed, we always tend to stock new colors in small organizational bags first, before committing them into bigger bags. Check them out or sign-up for restock alerts here: Vertical Packing Cubelet, Clear 3D Organizer Cube, All-Fabric Organizer Cube, Cubelet, and Packing Cube Shoulder Bag


More 200d Halcyon colors are on the way!

Wasabi 200d Halcyon

If you're more of a 200d Halcyon fan, we have some good news for you. We'll start with the big one: WASABI IS COMING BACK! We sold out of this color during the Knitting Goods pre-order last year, and given the supply chain dynamics in 2022, it took us almost a year to get another order from the mill. 

Let us know what bags you think we should make with Wasabi, and which external fabrics we should pair Wasabi with!

And just to tease you guys a little bit, we have chosen some new (like totally, never-been-before-done new) colors for the mill in Japan to custom dye for us. Our policy is to not disclose the color until the fabric has arrived at the factory...so until then, stay tuned! We can't wait to share these with you.

Synik 30 in X-Pac/Acai

And if you missed it, we debuted our newest 200d Halcyon color, Açaí, in late 2022 (in the smaller organizational bags first, of course). We've now started incorporating Açaí into a wider variety of bags, including the Synik 30, Synik 22, and Pilot. Here's some slightly bad news, we've already committed all our Açaí to production. We ran out of this color much faster than we expected! Would you like to see more Açaí in the future? Let us know in the comments below.


400d Halcyon

Synik 30 in 400d Taiga Halcyon

At this time, we still haven't found a replacement mill to make our 400d Halcyon fabric for us. (If you've been following us for at least a year, you probably know that the mill that made 400d for us closed down during the pandemic.) Currently, we still have small, but dwindling amounts of 400d in Black, Night Walk, Taiga, and Original. Here's what's Currently Available in 400d Halcyon.

You might be wondering why it's been so hard for us to find another mill to make the fabric. The biggest challenge with 400d Halcyon is the coating; this fabric has a low melting point, and most mills have operations that perform coating at much higher temperatures than 400d Halcyon can withstand. Next to this, the UHMWPE (ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene) grid, which is grey in our case (with the exception of the Original color) is a custom material, thus adding an additional layer of complexity.

We've also seen some confusion on the internet regarding 400d vs. 200d Halcyon with a handful of folks speculating that 200d is going away too. We'd like to take this opportunity to clarify that these are different fabrics, made by different mills. 200d Halcyon is not going away.

March Price Increase

A glimpse at the Seattle Showroom

We know, this news is a little less fun. Beginning in March, we will be implementing a 3% price increase on most of our products to reflect cost inflation and allow us to continue operating without compromise.

We are proud to design, make, and directly distribute our backpacks and bags at our own factory in Seattle while using the highest quality materials and employing the most talented crew. We are grateful for your continued support in making this possible.

New Designs We're Working on

The Addax 31 and Addax 26 were the first bags in our line to incorporate X-Pac RX30. Then, the Synik 30 came after. If you're still a bit skeptical to try X-Pac RX30 in such large bags, we have a new small bag coming in X-Pac RX30 on the horizon. 

Sneak Peek at what we're working on at the Factory

Some of you may have already noticed or gotten bags with our new labels! We're rolling out our new red and/ or black labels on all our bags, but the transition will take some time to come into full effect. 

We've also gotten a lot of requests in the recent months for a bag that resembles the Side Effect and Side Kick but with dimensions similar to the Packing Cube Shoulder Bag. We've been playing around with this and are excited to share more soon.

What is this about a reboot of the Night Flight Travel Duffel?

Did you catch the sneak peak in our last newsletter?

Night Flight Sneak Peek

The Night Flight Travel Duffel is undergoing some minor design updates at the moment. We will share more once the development phase is complete. Currently, we expect to offer this in a limited release in a spring or summer pre-order.  


Pamela - February 24, 2023

Will the black purse in the photo be available?
Is it the X-Pac RX-30?
I definitely want to order one!
TOM BIHN replied:
Hi Pam! That is a new design in the RX30 X Pac that is coming sooner rather than later—we hope to share more details soon. :)

K.M Gordon - February 19, 2023

The quality and organization of TB bags are genius, and gazing through the website gets my itch to hit the road (or actually the sky) cranked up. While mostly looking at backpacks and trying to figure out which one of them best suits my travel needs, the prevalence of very dark cheerless colors did not spark joy. Why the fascination with soooo much black, gray, and dark blue? Even contrasting zippers would add some life to the overwhelmingly monochrome offerings. Please, more lively colors. Thanks so much!!!

G42 - February 18, 2023

Thanks for the update and good luck with all the ERP updates and other projects.

Definitely interested in a PCSB-sized bag with SE/SK-style organization; it’s long been on the Forum wish lists, so great to hear you’re working on one.

Please do bring back Açai! We didn’t get to see it in nearly enough organizers/accessories, let alone full bags.

Christopher Souza - February 18, 2023

Ooh, ooh, one more idea: a Large Cafe Bag with Deep Blue and Wasabi! Pretty please 🥺

Daniel - February 18, 2023

+ 1 (or as many as I am allowed to +) for Açaí. It is SO gorgeous.

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We're the TOM BIHN crew: we design bags, make bags, ship bags, and answer questions about bags. Oh, and we collaborate on blog posts, too.